April 17, 2019- (Key West, FL). Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade kicks off with presentation by Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series guest Molly Ross

Distinguished On Friday, May 3 at 6:00pm, Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes Distinguished Speaker Series guest Molly Ross to the Custom House Museum, 281 Front Street, where she will kick off the three-day Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade celebration with a presentation titled, “Spectacle in the Street: Art of the Parade,” highlighting the traditions and histories of parades across the globe and how they strengthen a sense of community through shared cultural experience.

“Parades are collective celebrations that use music, movement, and visuals to animate streets-it’s joyful orchestrated chaos,” says Ross, an artist and academic widely acclaimed for her work with parades, puppet shows, and stilt-walking events, including Baltimore’s famed annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade for which she was a founder and longtime organizer.

Ross grew up in a rural community with “the traditional truck and trailer municipal parades” and went on to become founder and director of Nana Projects, a Baltimore-based parade arts studio that draws people together in public spaces in a spirit of innovation, collaboration, creativity, and community. Her accolades include a BS in Theater from Northwestern University and an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She taught at Maryland Institute College of Art in the Interdisciplinary Sculpture Department teaching puppetry, performance and community art and received the prestigious UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in 2010 (the highest honor a puppeteer can receive in the US) for “Alonzo’s Lullaby,” a shadow puppet performance about a circus.

Ross says that she finds it natural to approach the visual first and then fill in the performance aspect to bring the visuals to life.

“The parades that I have worked on have served as ways to engage communities and create dialogue through the collaboration of diverse populations,” she says. “The parade form works really well for a project like celebrating Stanley Papio and his work. It requires people to work collectively, its success is shown just by people showing up, and it taps into a range of talents so people can get involved on levels that they feel comfortable, and there are tremendously talented people here.”

She aughta’ know.

Tickets are and are available at  kwahs.org/events. Early ticket purchase is recommended.  Sponsored by the Helmerich Trust, the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Southernmost Beach Resort.For more information, contact Kristina Callaway, KWAHS Director of Education at 305-295-6616 extension 115 or at kcallaway@kwahs.org.  Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.

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Artist and academic Molly Ross, acclaimed creator of parades, puppet shows and stilt-walking events, moved to Key West from Baltimore, MD, in 2013 bringing her formidable talents with her. On Friday, May 3, to kick off this year’s Papio Kinetic Sculpture and Art Bike Parade, Ross will present, “Spectacle in the Street: Art of the Parade,” at the Custom House Museum. (Photo by Dennis Drenner)